My projectionist buddy James Fellows got us into both theaters, and dies in both movies.
The line to get into the auditorium.
The screening was yesterday.
I’ll start off by telling you how soured I am on the state of Maryland in terms of help they give to filmmakers. How about zero?
I was reticent about mentioning this stuff, ‘cause you don’t want to burn your bridges(but since I may be the only one reading this and I can always hit the delete key), but when we first started prep for the movie I sent a letter to the head of the Maryland Producer’s Club. One Jed Dietz.
It asked if he had any advice or could offer any help obtaining permits.
I let that slide. Who knows what happened to the letter? I was too busy to ever give it another shot.
So I put together this screening. My wife makes a bunch of press kits and sends them to the local television stations, newspapers, you name it. We waited a week and got no response.
I call and email a butt-load of the local newspapers. A small local one called “The Gazette” responds, but that’s it. Rick and I do an interview that comes out in the April 13th newspaper. It’s pretty good, but the paper is too small to be much help.
I fax the Sun(the biggest local paper), since I’ve already emailed them and snail mailed them. No response. I think perhaps they have too many good stories. I pick up one and read an article about how to make old furniture look like new furniture.
I decide they don’t have too many good stories. Finally one of them calls three days before the screening. They want to interview me over the phone. Great, I say. I do the interview. I ask whether they’re going to send someone out to see the movie. They tell me no, they’re doing the story on me and that’s it.
Totally defeats the purpose. If I wanted a story on me, I’d make it up myself. I need some good quotes, some critics saying they liked the movie.
My wife called three of the television stations who all say they’re going to try to get a crew out, but it’s a busy Saturday for news.
Me and the wife outside the theater
I got five hours of sleep the past two nights. Just kept thinking about all the shit I had to do. I did a test run with my computer and made a copy for the VCR in case something drastic happens once we get to the theater.
It all seems to be going okay. Ticket sales had been okay, but I figured to get a lot more people showing up after hearing about it in the Sun.
I arrived early(8:15am) at the theater. My buddy had told me a site rep was coming out to supervise us, which was really bad because I was using the theater’s digital projector and sound system when I was expressly told not to.
We devise a big lie where I brought in all this equipment the night before. To top it off, we’re moving the showing into the biggest theater. I’m worried about the site rep, but I’ve run a couple of scenarios through my head depending on how the person is.
We get everything set up. We test the sound, get it to the right level. My wife starts blocking off sections for cast/crew/press. I’m running all over. Waiting for Jeff and Paul to show up so I can hand them the video camera and still camera and tell them what to shoot.
Nine o’clock comes around. One of my employees shows up to be the ticket taker. Jeff shows up shortly after that. Then my brother. Good to go. Nine thirty shows up and there’s still only friends and family.
I put on the tickets to arrive between 9:45 and 10:00, but you’d still expect some people to show up early. I’m getting worried. I’d hoped for big crowds already. A huge line.
I start to feel a little better as people arrive. A line does form. It’s not as many people as I’d hoped, but it’s a decent crowd. I get them in a line and have Paul take a picture so you can see what they’re waiting for.
A few people ask Rick to stand in front of the movie poster so they can take his picture. Funny stuff.
Everyone gets let in, taking their seats. I stall, hoping more people will show up, or maybe the press. So far, we haven’t seen one press person. That pisses the shit out of me. I guess a movie shot by a Maryland filmmaker in Maryland gets screened all the time at the movie theater.
Fuckers. This state sucks for indy film.
Rick and I get up front and say a few words. There may have been 150-200 people there, but in a 450 seat auditorium, it didn’t look like many. I’d had an idea of what I was gonna say and I still blew it. Public speaking is not my forte.
The movie starts and I run upstairs to get my seat where I can see everyone’s reaction. Rick and my wife are sitting near me.
The lead-in to the credits didn’t get a whole lot of reaction. I didn’t expect it to really. I imagine a lot of people are slightly shocked, wondering what they’ve stumbled into.
The movie rolled on. Some scenes that got a reaction at other showings don’t get any reaction and vice versa(the “Must be the pickels” line got NO laugh, while Rick’s naked ass garnered a lot). Rick looked over at me when they laughed at his naked ass with a look that plainly said Fuck You.
The reaction that most pleased me was when Jeff gets his throat cut in the movie theater. There were a lot of people sucking in a breath when it happened(it was THAT loud) and then a lot of uncomfortable movement. Very cool.
As expected, people jumped when Paul got clubbed, but I think even more jumped at Rick getting punched after he gets out of the bath.
Last half hour of the movie, the sound begins reverberating. Every noise, every dialogue, every narration. I RACE up the stairs and stop the movie. I push the space bar, hoping everything will clear itself up, which it normally does.
Nope. I try again. Nope.
Finally I load the old version of the movie and hit play and it works. But that meant I would have to come back up and self-load the outtakes. I’m pissed and embarrassed. The one time I need the thing to work and it screws up.
After the movie everyone seemed to enjoy the outtakes. Lots of laughs. A bunch of people waited around to say hi and tell us how much they enjoyed it. Very cool, but I’m still stewing. No press whatsoever. They’re the fucking reason I did the whole thing.
I briefly think about doing something rash, like stalking and killing a few reporters for fun. I bet they’d do a story then, wouldn’t they?
My first newspaper story